“From the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely … Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed” (Jeremiah 6:13, 15).
The prophet Jeremiah saw a horrible condition coming upon God’s people. They were hiding their sins behind a façade of superficial peace and security. Greed had overcome their hearts and their entire lives had become superficial — superficial tears, superficial repentance, even superficial healing. Worst of all, they had lost their sense of grief for sin — in society, in the church, in their own lives. Sin had become “just one of those things.”
In Jeremiah 5:1-3, the prophet gives us a picture of the moral breakdown that occurred in Israel and the house of Judah. God’s people sat under a message of searing truth and yet they turned away from it and rebelled. Their fear of God was waning and where once they had delighted in God’s Word, they now turned away from the warnings of the prophets — the watchmen.
God is setting watchmen over the church today; anointed voices placed by the Lord to be responsible for your soul. As a believer, it is your responsibility to heed God’s Word and be obedient in order that you may be brought into the true image of Christ. That means walking according to the truth without compromising.
When God does something genuine in his people, Satan always conspires against it. When Nehemiah set about to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem, there was great opposition. “But it came to pass, that when [the enemy] heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up … they were very wroth, and conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it” (Nehemiah 4:7-8). Likewise, when an individual turns to God and has a genuine renewal in his life, Satan will fight with all his might to hinder his progress. Set your heart to listen to the watchmen and allow the Holy Spirit to probe your heart deeply that you may walk wholly blameless before the Lord in this late hour.
Those who hold on in unswerving faith are in for a glorious manifestation of Christ’s resurrection power. Only you and the Lord will know all the intimate workings but he will astonish you; he will thrill you; he will show you his glory!
The present greatness of Christ can be summed up in one powerful verse: “In Him was life” (John 1:4). He was — and is now — energizing life. Jesus was constantly being renewed as he drew on a secret reservoir that was never depleted. He never wearied of the crowd pressing in on him and his patience never wore thin.
When Jesus called his disciples to come aside for a while to rest, they departed to a quiet place across the lake. The crowds were waiting there too. But not once did he say, “Oh, no! It’s that problem bunch again with their silly complaints and dumb questions. Won’t it ever end?” Instead, he saw the multitudes and was moved to compassion. He was energized by the Spirit and went to work. And even though he had days of toil and nights of prayers, he still had time for the little children.
In a weary moment, Jesus stopped to rest at a well, but a lost woman needed help and once again he was energized. His disciples found their Master so relaxed, so refreshed! “He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know’” (John 4:32). That is the secret energy of resurrection life!
Today’s believers have been promised the very same energizing life of Christ. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
It is clear in Scripture that the Holy Spirit dwells in us to bring forth constant life. God has provided his very energy to come to our mortal bodies and give us physical strength: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him” (Colossians 2:13).
Thank God for the present greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ! Appropriate it by faith and walk in resurrection life and power!
Many Christians are dealing with great obstacles in their lives. It may be a job loss, a stressful marriage, a sick loved one, or a child struggling with faith. But no matter how bleak things may look, God is in the midst of the lives of those who love him and put their trust in him.
In the Bible we read of a poor widow who was in a desperate situation. After the death of her husband, she was unable to pay her debts and the creditor had come calling. In those days, creditors didn’t just take your belongings; they took your children. In her desperation, the widow appealed to the prophet Elisha for help.
“Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves’” (2 Kings 4:1).
Elisha could have told her to go to the temple for assistance, but he personally took action. “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” (4:2). Elisha was essentially saying to her, “God can meet you just as you are, in your present condition. If you have faith, he can multiply even the smallest thing you have.” She had only one jar of oil but in response to her obedience and faith, the oil was multiplied and her needs were more than met for the glory of God. In fact, she had an endless supply of oil and she also had a powerful testimony for her neighbors. (Read the full story in 2 Kings 4:1-7.)
The Lord used unconventional means to supply this widow’s needs but that is the beauty of how God works. His plans are usually far above anything we could imagine. He goes beyond our human capabilities and provides us with victory upon victory.
No matter your situation, may your faith keep bringing you to a place of rest in your loving Father. All the forces of heaven are at his disposal and he is bringing your victory right now!
Although it is crucial to understand the principles governing prayer, understanding alone won’t lead you to a breakthrough. In fact, prayerlessness often co-exists with extensive Bible knowledge. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectually, and he uses various means to accomplish this purpose.
Serious prayer is born out of a sense of need, out of the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene. Hannah’s story in the Bible serves as a motivation for our prayer life. She could be called the “First Lady of Prayer” because she is the first woman whose petition is recorded in Scripture.
Hannah shared her husband, Elkanah, with his second wife, an unpleasant woman named Peninnah. Hannah’s inability to have children made her the brunt of Peninnah’s taunts (see 1 Samuel 1:3-7). Constantly tormented, with no offspring of her own, weeping and unable to eat, Hannah seemed mired in a hopeless situation. In the midst of her pain, she didn’t know that God was about to choose her, among all the women of Israel, to bear a son, Samuel, who would become a prophet and lead his wayward people back to himself. So she wept before God and prayed, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).
This prayer, one of the greatest in the Bible, not only changed Hannah’s life, but also altered the history of Israel. God often works out his plans through human beings who feel compelled by their need to pray. Incredibly, we have the same potential in prayer that Hannah did. Our “breaking point” can lead to a breakthrough if it spurs us to call on God. Hannah asked for a son, but God gave her much more.
Don’t wait one more minute to receive what you need from God. Let this be your day to arise and talk to the Father from your heart and experience a breakthrough in prayer from your answering God.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
We often expect God to move in one of two ways: either by sending a supernatural outpouring of his Holy Spirit to sweep multitudes into his kingdom, or by sending judgment to bring people to their knees or even destroy them. But, beloved, that is not God’s method of changing things in an evil day. His way of rebuilding ruins has always been to use ordinary men and women whom he has touched. And he does this by filling them with his Holy Spirit and sending them into the warfare with great faith and power! “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).
You are God’s witness to your city! He uses laypeople who get alone with him, seek him in prayer, rend their hearts and then go forth full of the Holy Spirit, faith and power. If God has not been using you, it may be because you have not been usable. That happens when believers get “caught up in gazing at the glory” instead of preparing to be used.
The disciples basked in the glory when Jesus was taken up into heaven. They could have stood there forever, enjoying the warm glow, but the angel of the Lord lovingly rebuked them: “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? (Acts 1:11). There was a lot of preparation needed and tasks to be completed. “They returned to Jerusalem … went up into the upper room … [and] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:12-14).
When you emerge from seeking God, you can stand with boldness before fellow workers, family, anyone, and your witness will evoke one of two reactions: genuine repentance or anger you. Either way, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will speak a word that “cuts to the heart.”
Go forth in the power of the Holy Ghost, bringing the light of Jesus everywhere you go.